Letter Opposing End-of-Life Options Act


Mary Merritt and her husband Denny are currently on a mission trip, so I’m filling in for her.
As Mary promised in her March column, we will examine the assisted suicide bills that have been introduced in state legislatures in the first few months of 2019. First, however, I would like to share my letter to the editor, which appeared on April 4th in the Sun Post, a suburban Minneapolis newspaper. It was in response to a legislator’s misleading statements regarding the assisted suicide bill currently being pushed in Minnesota.
To the Editor:
This is in response to statements that were made by Rep. Mike Freiberg regarding the "End-of-Life Options Act", the latest term for assisted suicide. Although he contends that a majority of Minnesotans in "every demographic group tested" favor assisted suicide, he doesn't indicate what those groups were, and I sincerely doubt they were presented with all the facts regarding the bill, such as:
No requirement for a psychiatric evaluation or counseling. Persons who are severely depressed, mentally ill, or have intellectual disabilities must be referred to a mental health professional ONLY to determine their capacity to make and communicate decisions.
Non-physicians would be able to diagnose and prescribe the lethal dose.
Insurance companies may refuse more expensive treatments, opting instead to only pay for the less expensive suicide drug.
The bill states only patients diagnosed with six months or less to live are eligible. According to the Mayo Clinic up to 88% of patients seen for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation receive a new or redefined diagnosis. Predictions are often unreliable. 
Rep. Freiberg stresses suffering and pain. In places where assisted suicide is available, pain has not been stated as a major factor in requesting assisted suicide.
Once a prescription has been written, there are no safeguards to prevent coercion or abuse from persons standing to gain from the patient's death. There would be no way to determine if someone else administered the drugs or if the patient was tricked or forced to take them.
I submit that there are more humane, merciful ways to help those among us who are suffering than providing lethal drugs.
Jo Tolck, Patient Advocate
New Hope, MN
Mary will be back to write her excellent column for our May edition. In the meantime, we wish everyone a joyous Easter and Passover, as we celebrate these holiest days of the year.

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